Bill O'Reilly and Richard Dawkins (again)


This is a great example of why Bill O'Reilly is a complete idiot. He purports to be interviewing Dawkins about his new children's book, The Magic of Reality. But of course he really just wants to get into an argument about religion and, as usual, is more interested in gaining a rhetorical edge than thinking critically.

First, O'Reilly poisons the well. Richard Dawkins was Professor for Public Understand of Science at Oxford for 13 years, and was a fellow there for nearly four decades. He's one of the most esteemed and influential biologists in the world, and if anyone is qualified to write a children's book on science, he is. But O'Reilly simply introduces him as an "atheist", complete with unflattering picture and the caption "atheist" inconspicuously positioned at the bottom of the screen during the interview.

Then he states that Dawkins "is on a crusade to convince believers they're idiots". Good grief. Only someone who knows absolutely nothing about what Dawkins has actually written is capable of making such a bone-headed statement. Dawkins' polemics are devoid of such abject derision; but for some reason, O'Reilly cannot understand a simple truth: smart people can be wrong. Dawkins wants to show believers that they are, on that particular issue, mistaken. Not "idiots", but misguided. But this is O'Reilly we're talking about here, so we know he will deliberately mischaracterize his opponent in the interest of self-aggrandizement.

The interview is a joke, though. O'Reilly clearly isn't interested in discussing the book. And the last exchange is priceless: Dawkins asks him how an intelligent designer helps us explain life, and O'Reilly rambles incoherently about behavior. Dawkins doesn't miss a beat and asks him what that has to do with the question, and O'Reilly's retort is little more than,  "Well it's just what I believe." Believers are not necessarily idiots, but Bill O'Reilly certainly is.


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